The most common causes of ankle sprain include a previous history of sprains, inadequate shoes, lack of conditioning and lack of warming up. But preventing ankle sprains is a bit more complicated. While you can’t guarantee that you’ll never sprain your ankle, here are some things you can do to make your angle stronger and reduce your chances of injury.
Warm up exercises
Adding warm up exercises to your daily routine helps your body get ready for activities. Not only will a good warm up get your muscles and joints ready, but it also helps your heart and lungs prepare for the exertion.
Anything you can do to help your body balance will help prevent injuries in your ankles and other joints. By challenging your balancing abilities, you strengthen your proprioception, which is the ability of your body to be aware of where your limbs are at all times. In regards to ankles, your legs have less of a chance of stepping down wrong or making another mistake that could injure you.
These types of exercises including skipping, jumping, hopping and other activities that involve bouncing off the ground. This is a great way to condition and strengthen the muscles as well as the ligaments and tendons in your ankle joint so they are prepared for strenuous activities.
Choose Ideal Footwear
Try out different types of shoes until your feet feel like they are supported and comfortable. The right pair of shoes stabilizes your ankles while also providing comfort to your feet. They should also support your lower leg while you’re walking, jogging or running.
If you have a weak ankle or one that has recently been injured, wrapping it in tape can give it some extra support and stability. If done correctly, this method can even provide support to injured ankles so you can still walk on it.
As with all muscle joints and ligaments, a few preventative tactics can prevent injury or lessen the impact that an injury could have on your body. With the complexity of the ankle joint, keeping it supported and flexible helps reduce the risk of a serious injury. A few preventative actions can keep you from getting a serious injury that could have a lasting impact on your body for months or even years.
The R.I.C.E.R. Treatment
Even with precautions, injuries do happen. Applying immediate treatment at the first signs of an ankle or other joint injury reduces its negative effects. The most effective treatment for a soft tissue injury of any kind is the RICER method. Not only does it relieve pain and swelling, but it’s also the most effective in reducing your recovery time. It’s essential to any successful recovery. Following is a simple explanation about the RICER method.
- R stands for “rest.” You should not walk on an injured ankle. In fact, keep your ankle as still as you can to allow it to heal. Keeping it still slows the blood flow to the joint and helps to prevent anymore immediate damage.
- I stands for “ice.” This is the most important part of recovery because it reduces bleeding, pain and swelling. The sooner you can apply ice to an injured ankle, the easier the healing process will be.
- C stand for “compression.” Place a firm elastic bandage around the ankle to create a small amount of pressure on it. This step serves two purposes. The first is to reduce the amount of bleeding and swelling that occurs around the ankle. It also gives some support to the ankle joint and the lower leg.
- E stands for “elevation.” While sitting in a chair, elevate your leg above your heart level to reduce blood flow to the area. This also reduces swelling in the joint. Ideally, place your foot on a few pillows, but anything soft will be fine.
- R stands for “referral.” With serious injuries, consulting a physical therapist or other qualified professional will give you an idea of recovery time. They can also evaluate the seriousness of your injury. If you’re unsure about how serious it is, consult a professional anyway to get an accurate diagnosis. They will give you the ideal recovery program and other methods for complete recovery.
What to Avoid During Recovery
Now that you know what to do to aid recovery, there are some things to avoid for a successful recovery. These things increase swelling and bleeding, making your injury worse and taking more time for recovery.
- Heat to the injured area
- Movement and massage in the injured area
- Excessive alcohol consumption
Following the R.I.C.E.R. method and staying away from certain things is the ideal way to a full and fast recovery. In case of an ankle injury, immediate action gives the best results for getting your ankle back to normal as quick as possible. Consult your doctor immediately and follow his or her directions.